Last night we enjoyed an electrifying performance of Hamlet, simulcast from London. The theatre here in Croydon is a lovely traditional theatre with reasonably comfortable seats with good ‘racking’ – only a tall person can block your view. It was well attended, but there were a few spare seats so we moved down and across a bit.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet was the obvious drawcard, but it was an exceptional cast overall, bringing the characters and their motivations into a kind of ‘reality’ rarely seen in Shakespeare. The ‘good’ characters were sympathetic and even appearances of the ghost appeared a solid part of the story. The actors were in modern dress, the settings were dramatic, and music was used to good effect to set atmosphere and tone. It was very moving, although we felt elated and inspired, not sad, as most of the important characters died in the end!
The play was simulcast to other places as well. In Perth we will have to see it as an ordinary film at Luna because of the time difference – a pity. But I think it will feel as powerful. The advantage of film, of course, is that we were able to see the actors’ faces in more intimate moments.
We felt part of the true audience, and there were even little carts selling ice-cream in the auditorium at interval. This is as well as a cafe, a sweets kiosk and a long bar all down in the foyer. These Croydon folk are very well served.
We walked home feeling very happy and stimulated. We had spent the whole day at home, doing our computer stuff and reading or, in Stephen’s case, watching the BBC version of ABC iview on the 27″ iMac which is set up in the kitchen. It has an office chair and printer as well as space for us to have meals. It was enjoyable to be out in the fresh air and between 10.30 and 11.00 p.m. there were lots of people around and small supermarkets still open.
So, some photos. The heading photo is of the Croydon Street Market.